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The Starless World is a Star Trek: The Original Series novel, among the thirteen that were published in the 1970s by Bantam Books. Written by Gordon Eklund, its first printing was in November 1978.


Captain Kirk encounters Klingons and nocturnal creatures known as Strangers and the sun god himself in a journey of incredible suspense…
Inside the hollow shell of a strange, remote planet Kirk and the Enterprise crew discover a planet within a planet… energized by a white dwarf star… a planet like a lost Eden populated by a race of small, gentle, furred bipeds… a planet falling toward a black hole to spectacular peril and inescapable doom…


While exploring a region of space, the starship USS Enterprise discovers a man claiming to be Jesus Christ in a shuttlecraft from a starship that went missing twenty years prior. The insane fellow in the USS Rickover shuttle turns out to be James T. Kirk's former roommate, Thomas Clayton, whom he had expelled from Starfleet Academy for cheating. Cheating would not be tolerated by Kirk, especially not at the Academy. Thomas Clayton rants and raves about Ay-nab and attacks several people after overpowering the witless med tech placed in charge of his captivity. This causes the USS Enterprise to backtrack the shuttle's course. The USS Enterprise is then captured by an unseen force and held within a Dyson sphere called Lyra.

James T. Kirk and company descend to the planet where he becomes romanticaly invovled with a local inhabitant. The local girl is furry and believes she is married to Kirk. Kirk soon discovers Klingons are also trapped within this construct, and that all weapons but a special sort found on the surface are useless. The Klingons claim to be political dissidents on the run from the emperor and ask for Kirk's help in escaping Lyra. The landing party camps out within the village on the surface, and in the night Strangers attack, causing commotion. Startled by noises outside her hut, a nude Uhura ventures into the night. This is not very unusual, as Uhura mentions that within the United Federation of Planets the only reason anyone wears clothes at all is to help maintain order onboard starships.

Nyota Uhura discovers her father and the two run off to join the other Strangers. Clayton again outwits the med tech in charge of his confinement and again attacks crew members, this time taking hostages. Kirk and Spock commune with Ay-nab and learn the history of Lyra. A species seeking to end the cycle of war and rebuilding turn to the god Ay-nab that lives within their star. Ay-nab offers to teach them to build a Dyson's Sphere, but promises that they will all be destroyed in a black hole if they do this. The locals accepted this offer, built the sphere, and now have dwindled down to the village's small population as Lyra fast approaches the black hole. Kirk is allowed to leave with Uhura, but must leave all the others behind, as Ay-nab drains them of their life force in order to survive. Kirk bargains for the life of his 'wife', Ola. As the Enterprise escapes, Spock ponders the destruction of Lyra suggesting they might instead have used the black hole to travel to some other universe or location. The Klingon ship is also allowed to leave, but without their newfound arsenal.



Ay-nabNathan BoggsChristine ChapelPavel ChekovThomas ClaytonDomoGregoryArthur KaplanJames T. KirkKreeKyannaLeonard McCoyOlaMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru SuluAlhamisi UhuraNyota Uhura
Referenced only
AllahNapoleon BonaparteLeonardo da VinciDevilFreeman DysonGodJesus ChristLord of the CosmosMethuselahMuhammadPierreMarcel ProustLeo Tolstoy"Aunt Uhura"M'Umbha Uhura

Starships and vehicles

USS EnterprisejeepUSS RickoverUSS Rickover shuttlecraft (Federation shuttlecraft)


AfricaAndromeda GalaxyAtlantic OceanChamber of DeputiesDakarEarthEdenGalactic coreGalaxyHellJupiterLyraMoscowParisPellucidarSenegalSouth AmericaStarbase 13TumaraVulcan

Races and cultures

Human (FrenchIncanRussianSenegaleseSwahiliIslamic) • KlingonLyranRomulanStarmanStrangersTholianVulcan

States and organizations

French EmpireKlingon EmpireStarfleetStarfleet AcademyUnited Federation of PlanetsUnited States of Africa

Science and classification

biologychronometercommunicatorexobiologyhologramhypospraylibrary computernavigationnewstapephaserphaser bankphysicistphysicspsycho-computersatellitescannersensorsleeping potionstimulanttechnologytransportertricorderturboliftuniversal translatorviewscreenwarp drivewheelzoology

Ranks and titles

biologistcaptainchief medical officerchief science officercommanding officercowboydoctorensignfirst officerjunior officermedicnoblemanpeasantphilosopherprincesssaintscientistsecond in commandsecurity guard

Other references

19th centuryagonizeralert statusyellow alertanimalarmyasbestosassassinationatmospherebeambearblack holebourbonbridgecaptain's logcardscatcavechairchesschimpanzeecivil warcivilizationbootcloudcode of honorcometconcussioncoronacosmoscowboydemondesertdwarf starDyson's SphereearthquakeeclipseelephantengineengineeringevolutionextinctionfarmerUniversal languageFrench ImpressionismfruitfurgalaxyghostgiraffegorillaGreat Revolutiongrizzly bearhourhyposprayinsigniaintercomislandjerkinkilometerkittenKlingoneseknifekovalanding partyleopardlionlogicmagicmeteorminutemonstermountainmythnitrogenoceanorbitoxygenpalm treeparsecpeaceplanetpon farrponyprotostarquartersradiationrebellionreligionrobesedativesharkshuttle baysickbaysilversolar hoursolar systemspearspiritSwahiliswimmingtelepathytigertreetribeunderskirtuniformuniverseVulcan nerve pinchwarWar and Peacewaterwhiskeywoodworshipyearzombie


2 to 4 billion years ago
Ay-nab begins its doomed journey on board the Lyra Dyson sphere. (Referenced)
The USS Rickover goes missing. (Referenced in Chapter 1)
Cadets James T. Kirk and Thomas Clayton are roommates at Starfleet Academy. James T. Kirk later turned his roommate in for cheating. When asked why he did it, Kirk responded that he couldn't stand a cheater, especially at the Academy. (Referenced in Chapter 1)
Before 2257
Alhamisi Uhura took a young Nyota Uhura out of her home in Dakar to visit his rural family. (Referenced)
Alhamisi Uhura goes missing. Alhamisi was a Starman who wandered the galaxy alone in an era of Human space exploration before the creation of the Starfleet. (Referenced)
Alhamisi Uhura is presumed dead. Shortly after meeting James T. Kirk, Nyota Uhura expresses her grief. (Referenced)
Stardate 6527.5
The USS Enterprise locates an insane Human, Thomas Clayton, in uncharted space traveling in a shuttlecraft from the USS Rickover. (Chapter 1)
A Klingon ship carrying Princess Kyanna becomes trapped within the Lyra Dyson sphere by Ay-nab. (Referenced)
Stardate 6528.4
The USS Enterprise discovers and becomes trapped within the Lyra Dyson sphere by Ay-nab.
Stardate 6533.9
The USS Enterprise attempts to discover the nature of Ay-nab as Nyota Uhura recalls a childhood with an often absent father. Alhamisi Uhura and many others are discovered living beneath the surface of Lyra.
Stardate 6537.7
The USS Enterprise escapes before Lyra is engulfed by a black hole. (Final chapter)


Related media


  • Uhura reveals that public nudity is a 'norm' within the Federation, which is in line with Gene Roddenberry's suggestion of a similar implication in pre-production of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, that Earth would be shown with inhabitants visiting parks and public places in the nude.
  • "Starmen" explored the galaxy in small one-man ships before the creation of Starfleet.
  • The novel implies that Starfleet was created only a few years before the events of this story.

Shuttlecraft in the USS Enterprise shuttlebay in the late 2260s decade.

  • The Rickeover shuttle was not overtly designated in the novel, but like other Starfleet shuttles of the era, probably had some type of name or number on the hull. Presumably, this was a shuttle intended to be of a type seen in TOS or TAS, but lacking any description associating it with any of those classes, it is possible it was a different design. At this point in Star Trek history, the only shuttlecraft that had been seen in live-action productions was the class F shuttlecraft, and only a handful of other types had been shown in animation.

    Kelvin shuttle.

    • The Rickover expedition would be roughly concurrent with the USS Kelvin seen in 2009's Star Trek film, so it is also possible that those older shuttles might be the type of this craft.
  • The volume cover art changed numerous times with subsequent printings. Initial versions showed a painting of Enterprise entering the Lyra Dyson sphere, while reprints changed the focus to the characters of Kirk and Kree, the Klingon antagonist. Overseas, the first Corgi Books printing showed a beauty shot of the Enterprise above the landscape of Lyra (and depicted the refit Enterprise of the movie era). The Titan Books reprinting in the Star Trek Adventures series showed a rendering of Dr. McCoy.




Published Order
Previous novel:
TOS unnumbered novels Next novel:
Trek to Madworld
Previous novel:
The Price of the Phoenix
Star Trek Adventures Next novel:
Perry's Planet
Previous story:
first novel
Stories by:
Gordon Eklund
Next story:
Devil World
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
Pocket Books Timeline Next adventure:
Trek to Madworld
Previous adventure:
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
Trek to Madworld
Publication history
November 1978
First published by Bantam Books. (ISBN 978-0-553-12371-5)
November 1984
Fourth printing, cover by Enric Torres-Prat. (ISBN 978-0-553-24675-9)
January 1985
First printed in the United Kingdom by Corgi Books, cover by Chris Moore. (ISBN 978-0-552-12581-9)
January 1994
Reissued in Great Britain as Star Trek Adventures #3 by Titan Books, cover by Alister Pearson. (ISBN 1-85286-505-9)
March 1994
Fifth printing by Bantam Spectra, cover by Kazuhiko Sano. (ISBN 978-0-553-24675-9)
9 September 1979
Italian: As La sfera di Dyson (The Dyson Sphere) in the digest Urania #800, translated by Laura Serra, cover by Karel Thole. (Arnoldo Mondadori)
August 1985
German: As Im Kern der Galaxis, #368 in Terra series, translated by Lore Straßl, cover by Morris Scott Dollens. (Moewig, ISBN 978-3-8118-3408-8)
German: As Welt ohne Sterne, Raumschiff Enterprise #27, translated by Hermann Martireiter, cover by Eddie Jones. (Goldmann, ISBN 9783442236503)
Hebrew: As עולם ללא כוכבים, translated by Ofra Ofer, cover by Kazuhiko Sano. (Maariv Book Guild)

External links